May 30, 2013 - The End of May Garden

It's the end of May, but it feels and looks like the end of April.  The weather has been 15-20 degrees below our normal for most of this month, and we've had a lot of wind.  These past couple of days we've also had quite a bit of rain, but the wind dries the soil out quickly.  The garden is growing, albeit slowly.  Potatoes, lettuce, spinach and strawberries have been the stars of the May garden, along with lilies, Sweet Williams and Johnny Jump-ups.  Surprisingly, the tomato plants have been growing quite well, and most are blossoming.  Several even have little tomatoes on them.  Same with the peppers.  The plants haven't grown much, but there are a lot of small peppers on them now.  Two beds of corn have suffered in the cold weather, but the third, an early variety, is growing well.  The beans aren't growing well at all, and they are plagued with insect damage. I keep planting bean seeds, thinking it has to warm up so they can grow quickly, but I'm not having much luck with them yet.

Random Garden Photos

May 29, 2013 - No Sugar, No Snap

It's a variety I've grown in the past.  I've loved the fact that the pods are stringless, tender and sweet.  It also grows only 3 feet high and is semi-leafless, which makes picking so easy.  I could hardly wait for my first harvest of lovely Sugar Lace Snap Peas!

It happened yesterday.  Just a handful for my dinner salad, but so many more on the vines!  The vines, which are 5 1/2 feet high now, not 3.  The vines that have a lot of green, and are definitely not semi-leafless.

I brought my handful of precious peas inside, and proceeded to snap off the ends of the pods.  TOUGH!  NO SNAP!  STRINGS!  I bit into one and it was tough and bitter, not a bit of sweetness.  I don't know what happened.  A couple of weeks ago I took one pod off of a vine and ate it right there in the garden, and it was fine.  These weren't over mature at all, as the tiny peas were just barely beginning to form in them.

I planted two packets of those seeds this spring.  I can see that some of the vines are shorter, the expected 3-3 1/2 foot height, while some reach nearly to the top of the kennel fence.  If it ever stops raining today, I'll go out and taste test from a short vine and a tall vine.  In the meantime, my dream of sweet, crisp sugar snaps has turned into a nightmare.

May 27, 2013 - Harvest Monday Addendum

This really should go on next week's post, but I couldn't wait.  You see, I'm impatient when it comes to my garden produce.  I've been looking at those lovely purple potato blossoms all week, and this morning curiosity got the best of me.  I carefully dug my fingers under and around one of the blossoming potato plants, and came up with...................

This!  The first potato for 2013!  

I didn't weigh it, it was too tiny to bother.  I just washed it off, stuck it in the microwave for one minute, cut it open and topped each half with a tiny dab of real butter and some salt and pepper, then ate it in four delicious little bites. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  No store bought potato could be that good!

May 27, 2013 - Harvest Monday

 5/20 - I picked these and cleaned them and forgot to weigh them!  It was a nice bag full for the freezer.

 5/24 - 5.5 ounces of Walla Walla Sweet onions to add to our salads.

5/24 -  I did remember to weigh these beauties!  That's 22.6 ounces of goodness.

 5/25 - 30.3 ounces of rhubarb.  Two cups of sliced rhubarb were made into a mini pie, and the remaining 4 cups were put in the freezer for two future mini pies.

Of course, every time I head out to the garden, the neighbor's Big Dog is at the fence waiting for me to bring him his cookies!

 5/26 - I needed room in the kennel garden for more carrots, so I pulled all the lettuce (there's plenty more in other areas of the garden)!  Most of it is Romaine, and the heads were big and beautiful.  That's a very large basket they are in!

 All cleaned up and in my largest pan (it won't even fit in my oven), the Romaine alone weighed just over 2 pounds.

 When I added the other varieties to it, I ended up with 69.4 ounces.  Such a pretty variety of leaves, don't you think?

5/26 - With the big basket emptied, I headed for the spinach patch.  Some of the spinach is on the verge of bolting already, so we need to enjoy it while we can.  This weighed in at 26.6 ounces.  As much as I love spinach in my salads, I think this is all heading for the pot.  I'm already begging my kids to take lettuce, I don't need even more salad greens!

This week's harvest:

Lettuce: 69.4 ounces
Onions: 5.5 ounces
Rhubarb: 30.3 ounces
Spinach:  26.6 ounces
Strawberries: 22.6 ounces

Total this week:  154.4 ounces ( 9.65 pounds)
Total to date:  21.74 pounds

Be sure to check out Daphne's Dandelions to see what others have harvested this week!

May 20, 2013 - Granny Junior

Before I pack up the laptop for tomorrow's trip, I must show you the new guardian of the garden.  The sparrows were taking their toll on the greens this morning, so something had to be done!  One broomstick, a nail and a piece of 1"x2", an old shirt, my sweat pants, a panty hose head with Mr. Granny's cap...................Granny Junior!

Can you see her standing out there?

Otto and Annie went crazy when they saw her!  Otto was pretty brave, but Annie did her barking from the protection of the patio.  Otto wouldn't stop barking at her, but see how fast that tail is wagging, LOL!  I can only hope the birds are as scared of her as Annie is.

The new car (it has 14 miles on the odometer already) is packed and ready to go.  The alarm is set for 5:00 a.m.  Granddaughter Alicia is coming over to dog sit with "the kids".  I'm taking the laptop, so if I get bored with all the down time I can always blog, or at least keep up with reading your blogs.  I'm ready for some fun!

May 20, 2013 - Fallen Flowers, Harvest Monday and Goodbye

5/19 - Fallen Flowers:

We got hit with yet another windstorm yesterday, and it knocked down some of my lilies.  Just as they were in full bloom.  I went out and put a couple of screw eyes in the fence, then tied them up as much as I could.  Not an easy job with all the flowers and plants around them, plus I could have used a few more hands.  Luckily the entire clump was already tied up, or they would have all fallen flat.

Fallen lilies, before & after tying.

This morning I was giving myself a permanent when I noticed the fallen lilies, so I grabbed the camera and went out to get a photo while the sun was hitting them.  As I came back in, Mr. Granny said "You didn't go out looking like that, did you?"  "Of course", I replied.  "OMG!" says he.

Big deal.  So I had my hair up in perm curlers, with a plastic grocery bag over the top of my head.  And I was wearing tennis shoes, socks and a shortie bathrobe.  What's wrong with that?

5/20 - Harvest Monday: Visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others have harvested!

I've finally been picking something besides lettuce and spinach....strawberries!  They're awfully small, but plentiful, and a whole month earlier than usual.  Mr. Granny and I have enjoyed fresh strawberries with whipped cream (for him), and yogurt (for me), as well as our first strawberry shortcake of the season.

Salads have been plentiful.  I've been eating two large salads a day, a total of 8-9 ounces of lettuce. I barely get caught up with what's in the refrigerator, then it's time to pick again.  so what did I do? I planted more lettuce, of course!  I'm really going to work at keeping it coming through the summer months.

Keeping up with the spinach is no problem at all, since we like it cooked as well as in the salads.  If I find myself with a glut, I just steam it, and it cooks down to nearly nothing.

 5/16 - 9.1 ounces (Not shown, a first picking of 2.8 ounces)

5/18 - 1 pound 4 ounces

The spinach and secondary lettuce bed needs to be harvested.

19.4 ounces of spinach.......

....into the pot.

Reduces to just enough for two meals.

 Some of the lettuces are almost too pretty to pick, but pick I must.

Into the basket with the green lettuces.  All together there were 27.4 ounces, way too much for us to eat right away, so I gave it the "big batch lettuce" treatment!  I washed it well, then put the wet leaves into a clean pillowcase.  I handed Mr. Granny the camera, and I headed for the back yard. 

 Swing that lettuce, round and round, up and down!!!

Then wrap it up in the now damp pillowcase, and store it in the fridge.  It should be nice and crisp when I'm ready to use it at the end of the week.

This week's harvest:
Lettuce: 27.4 ounces
Radishes: so few, I didn't even weigh them
Spinach:  19.4 ounces
Strawberries: 31.9 ounces

Total this week:  78.7 ounces ( 4.9 pounds)
Total to date:  12.09 pounds

5/20 - Goodbye (but I'll be baaaaack):

Tomorrow morning, before sunrise, I'm going to jump into my new car and head for this....

Once I arrive, I'm going to spend a lot of time relaxing here....

And when I'm not relaxing, I'll be eating here....

One of the best hotel buffets ever, dieting not allowed  :-)

See ya next weekend.